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Life should be sweet for Frances Robinson. She has an amazing best friend, lives in a beautiful house with a loving family, and has just met a seriously cute guy named Nix, recently transplanted from Louisiana. So why do her nightmares startle her awake? And why is she terrified of ambulances screaming in the night? Frances has a secret. Years ago, before she was adopted by the Robinsons, she lived with her birth mother and three younger sisters in the made-up country of Fireless. Life was good there. Frances' mother, Afton, loved singing, laughing, and dancing in the rain. Most of all she loved Fireless, a beautiful and mysterious place of her own invention. But the lure of Fireless led Frances' mother deeper and deeper into madness, until she suffocated her children, one after another, in the quiet sunshine of an ordinary morning. All except Frances. Frances escaped. Now Afton Jelks is out of prison. And she wants to finish what she started.
Fascinating and original, this ghostly love story by the author of "Teach Me" is a tantalizing tale set in the environs of an evangelical revival circuit and centers around Ronald Earl, who at 10 had become the electrifying boy wonder preacher known as Little Texas. Now, at 16, Ronald is beginning to have doubts.
Carolina is a high-school senior who feels she is too smart and mature for small-town Alabama life. Then she meets Mr. Mann, the new language arts teacher who is obsessed with Emily Dickinson. After she makes him feel at ease in his new job, she feels he is worthy of her attention, and the two begin an intense, clandestine affair, which is consummated on her 18th birthday. The love ends devastatingly for the teen when Mr. Mann suddenly dumps her and quickly marries another woman right before graduation. Carolina finally confides in her best friend, Schuyler, and he helps her try to figure out who Mr. Mann is and why he acted as he did. Nelson's writing is wonderfully eloquent and full of poetic references and wry humor, yet the plot and characters are occasionally chaotic. It is difficult to identify with Carolina, who not only thinks she's better than everyone else, but also goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge on her former lover. Mr. Mann is no more sympathetic. As his mystery unravels, readers discover, along with Carolina, how dull he is. Still, the story is juicy and cautionary without being preachy, which gives it wide teen appeal.
R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue. Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy-until the lost night. She's shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man-a monster-who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma with all the amazing powers of a vampire-heightened senses, rapid speed-but no need to drink blood. Is Emma now a half-vampire girl? One thing soon becomes clear: the vampire Wirtz is fierce and merciless, feared even by his own kind, and won't leave a job undone. From the Hardcover edition.
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